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May 2007 Archives

O'Donnell's 'View' of Her Work: 'It Is Done'

May 28, 2007 12:00 AM

Just because Rosie O'Donnell won't be there doesn't mean ABC's "The View" won't be must-see TV on Tuesday. There will be lots of body language and carefully composed explanations of Ms. O'Donnell's decision to leave "The View" three weeks earlier than planned-a development officially announced Friday but hinted at for two days by Ms. O'Donnell on her Web site.

"When painting/ there is a point/ u must step away from the canvas/ as the work/ it is done," Ms. O'Donnell wrote in the haiku patois she uses on rosie.com.
On Friday, statements were released conceding the stormy and ratings-improved season of Rosie was over. "We had hoped that Rosie would be with us until the end of her contract three weeks from now, but Rosie has informed us that she would like an early leave. Therefore, we part ways, thank her for her tremendous contribution to 'The View' and wish her well," said Brian Frons, Disney-ABC's Daytime Television Group president.

Barbara Walters, the show's creator, co-executive producer and occasional target for Ms. O'Donnell's anger, said, "I brought Rosie to the show. Rosie contributed to one of our most exciting and successful years at 'The View.' I am most appreciative."

In her statement, Ms. O'Donnell said, "I'm extremely grateful. It's been an amazing year and I love all three women."

"Three women" presumably means Ms. Walters and co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Joy Behar, who inadvertently triggered Ms. O'Donnell's rage at Ms. Hasselbeck for one last time. The loudly liberal Ms. O'Donnell and kewpie-doll conservative Ms. Hasselbeck had maintained they were friends despite their many arguments. -- Michele Greppi

Zooming In on 'Idol' Results

May 28, 2007 12:00 AM

When Jordin Sparks was crowned the winner of the sixth season of "American Idol" last week, Edward "Bod" Boddington, chairman and founder of Telescope, was one of the first people to know the result before it was announced on air to the rest of the world.
Mr. Boddington's participation media company tallied a record vote total of 74 million votes via SMS text messages and toll-free telephone for the finale, breaking all previous records set by the show.

For the entire season, Telescope counted a record 609 million "Idol" votes, compared with last season's nearly 580 million votes. Telescope, which has been managing the voting component of the show since day one, was launched in the United Kingdom in 1998 and has handled more than 100 interactive TV events, including "America's Got Talent," "American Inventor," "Rockstar" and "So You Think You Can Dance?" -- Matt Kapko, RCR Wireless News

Fans Fighting the Battle of 'Jericho'

May 28, 2007 12:00 AM

CBS's cancellation of "Jericho" caused some unexpected fallout. In a fury unseen since the USA Network axed "La Femme Nikita," "Jericho" junkies are on the warpath. Not only have they created a "Jericho Lives" Web site, jericholives.com, they've also launched a NUTS campaign.

Quoting the Web site: "In World War II, when General MacAuliffe was asked to surrender at the Battle of the Bulge, he simply replied, 'NUTS!' In 'Jericho,' the main character, Jake, replied, 'NUTS!' when New Bern's commander asked him to surrender. We're saying N.U.T.S. [Not Understanding Term Surrender] to CBS -- we do not want to surrender our favorite show."
As proof of their determination, fans of the show are sending bulk orders of nuts to the network.

Also feeling the pain was Los Angeles Times reporter Maria Elena Fernandez, who wrote a piece on the show's cancellation that was published last week. Her e-mail bounceback message says it all: "'Jericho' junkies: I admire your passion and appreciate the feedback on my story, but so many of you are contacting me that my inbox is shutting down repeatedly. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE direct your thoughts to the message board next to the 'Jericho' story on www.latimes.com. We appreciate it." -- Tom Gilbert

Translated From the British

May 21, 2007 12:00 AM

Can't understand the Queen's English? BBC America is urging viewers who have trouble understanding British accents to turn on the closed-captioning on their TV sets. The network reached out to John Oliver, a correspondent on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," to help with the project.

Mr. Oliver wrote the tongue-in-cheek promos and provided lightly accented voiceovers that will appear ahead of BBCA shows, starting Memorial Day weekend when the network runs its Blockbuster Summer Preview.

"The following program contains accents you would have heard a lot more if you hadn't thrown our tea into Boston Harbor," says one. "Not even British people can follow the British accent 100 percent of the time. Therefore you, like me, might want to use closed-captioning," is another.

While most British accents are fairly understandable to Yanks, some of the more interesting characters use dialects that are harder to penetrate, said Andrew Jackson, VP of creative services for BBC America. And while BBC America has always offered closed-captioning, many people don't know how to turn it on. Although some channels have closed-captioning sponsors, Mr. Jackson said that at this point, BBCA sees it more as a way to connect to its audience.

The channel also plans to continue to work on marketing projects with Mr. Oliver, who has already incorporated the Boston Harbor joke into his standup routine. -- Jon Lafayette

Doing Their Part

May 21, 2007 12:00 AM

"Live With Regis and Kelly's" broadcasts from New Orleans this week should leave a lasting impression on the city. The "Live" crew, along with the staff of distributor Disney/ABC Domestic Television, have made it their cause to help to rebuild the city, still struggling after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The team is spearheading construction of a playground for Drew Elementary School, a 600-student campus located in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. With students' ideas incorporated into the final design, the school's Live With Regis and Kelly Playground will be unveiled on "Live" while it's on location in the Big Easy.

In addition to building the playground, the employees of Disney/ABC Domestic Television took up a collection of much-needed items and supplies for the school, yielding a truckload of donations including art and school supplies, games, sports equipment and even audiovisual equipment for classrooms. The effort extended beyond the Burbank headquarters, with all of the division's satellite offices participating as well.

"It's extremely gratifying to bring something positive to an area that was so hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina," said Janice Marinelli, president of Disney/ABC Domestic Television. "I am also especially proud of our employees and their generous contributions to this endeavor." -- Chris Pursell

Tucker All Over NBCU

May 21, 2007 12:00 AM

Jonathan Tucker is officially one for two in the land of NBC Universal. On May 14, NBC announced its fall 2007 lineup and, to no one's surprise, "The Black Donnellys," the Paul Haggis drama in which the young actor played the sort of Michael Corleone of a New York Irish clan, will not be returning.

Shortly before the new prime-time schedule was released, CNBC announced that Mr. Tucker had won its "Trading With the Stars Celebrity Portfolio Challenge." Over the course of nine months, Mr. Tucker, representing CNBC's "Street Signs," increased his portfolio 28 percent to $1,277,552.30. His payoff? A tidy $50,000 for his favorite charity, the Pegasus Fund, which helps send underprivileged children to camp.

The announcement from CNBC noted Mr. Tucker is being directed by Mr. Haggis on the big screen in "In the Valley of Elah" with Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron. It did not mention "The Black Donnellys." -- Michele Greppi

Gray Matter at the Cable Show

May 14, 2007 12:00 AM

It seems things are going so well in cable that top executives can afford to have a sense of humor. During a session at last week's NCTA convention, video of a decade-old cable modem demonstration was shown featuring a young, dark-haired and dark-suited Brian Roberts. The now-graying-and-thinning Comcast CEO started by poking fun at his current appearance.

"OK, let's start with the hair," he said. "My father has more hair than I do today. It's a real problem."

A little later, News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin chimed in about Mr. Roberts' gray suit, "Brian chooses his suits to match his hair color."

Later, when talking about how much money News Corp. gets from cable operators, Mr. Roberts shot back: "That joke about my hair is going to cost you a penny a sub." As the session ended, when Mr. Roberts was asked what products cable will be offering in the future, he responded that the more important question was, "Eleven years from now, how much hair will you have?"

'7th' Heaven-Bound

May 14, 2007 12:00 AM

Members of the cast and crew of "7th Heaven" held a unique "funeral" last week for their canceled series, which concluded its run after 11 years on Sunday night.

Star Stephen Collins, presiding over a private ceremony at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, scattered ashes of a "7th Heaven" script, ushering the show to the television afterlife.

Coming up next week: Aaron Sorkin cremates the set of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."

Go Cougar House!

May 14, 2007 12:00 AM

NBC is taking a page from Fox's reality TV playbook for its intriguing summer series "Age of Love," the concept of which is sure to provoke water-cooler discussion. The show's format has been a closely guarded secret, but sources said "Love" will be a social experiment where youth is pitted against experience when two groups of women compete for a single bachelor.

Women in their 20s will live in one house, women in their 30s and 40s in another. The bachelor will date from both houses, eliminating contestants; in midseason the houses will merge.

Mark Consuelos ("All My Children") will host the series, which is produced by reality vets J.D. Roth and Todd A. Nelson ("The Biggest Loser"), along with Adam Greener ("Unan1mous") and Craig Armstrong ("Survivor").

-- James Hibberd

Culinary Delight

May 14, 2007 12:00 AM

As a three-peat winner in the James Beard Broadcast Media Awards, Martha Teichner knows there's more than one thrill attached to earning the heavy gold medal attached to a big red grosgrain ribbon for her work seen on "CBS Sunday Morning."

There's the obvious thrill of being told that your food reporting for TV was better than all the other entries. (But then, who else followed the year-long search for the perfect turkey and the perfect setting for Gourmet magazine's Thanksgiving cover, or was ahead of the curve about the collapse of the beehive nation, or sampled the fare at a London restaurant that specializes in "nose-to-tail" dining? And that's just for this year's award.) And there's also the gustatory reward befitting a medal that honors the late, great chef.

"The dinner is very good," Ms. Teichner said of this year's winners fete, held May 6 in New York, where the bill of fare included salad followed by a salmon and salmon-roe dish, then Wagyu beef and finally two desserts.

Sounds like almost any night in the Teichner kitchen, when she cooks for relaxation and her two bull terriers catch the inevitable scraps. They have no favorites, she said. "They're omnivores."

Rumor Mill Churning Over Pickups, Renewals

May 14, 2007 12:00 AM

Pickup rumors are swirling as networks go into their pre-upfront lockdown mode—lips pursed, refusing to officially confirm anything until their presentations this week. That said, some rumors are stronger than others: NBC has renewed "Scrubs" for 18 episodes for the fall, sources said. NBC has also picked up the hot pilot "Lipstick Jungle" for 13. CBS is said to have picked up several game show pilots for the summer, including "Game Show in My Head," "Power of 10" and "The Wizard." ABC renewed the midseason comedy "Notes From the Underbelly" for 13 episodes. Rumors also continue about renewing "Knights of Prosperity" with Ray Romano in the Mick Jagger role as a possible pairing with "Cavemen." Also at ABC, "Cashmere Mafia" is looking good, but there's nothing official yet. The CW pilot "Gossip Girl" has been firmly picked up. "Pussycat Dolls: The Search for the Next Doll" is looking very close to a renewal (but, really, how many more Dolls does the group need?).

Lafayette on La Fayette

May 7, 2007 12:00 AM

Blink can never get enough Lafayette. TV5Monde, the French-language cable channel, was named media sponsor of a yearlong celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Marquis de La Fayette in Lafayette, La., where TV5Monde appears on Cox Cable's channel 270. Lafayette, in Bayou country, will be holding special events featuring food, music, art, history and culture to honor its namesake, the French nobleman who assisted George Washington during the American Revolution. Around the Marquis' birthday in September, the channel will air several original films and documentaries about him. It also is producing an original CD-ROM about the influence La Fayette had on the U.S. that will be available free in both English and French versions to public schools in Louisiana and across America. "We are grateful that our programming partner TV5Monde has agreed to reach out and assist the Lafayette region in paying tribute to a gentleman who played a major role in the history of our country," said Jacqui Vines, regional VP and general manager of Cox Greater Louisiana.

—JON, er, LAFAYETTE

'Mall' Rats

May 7, 2007 12:00 AM

American Eagle Outfitters is trying on TV. The clothing retailer is in production on its first original series, a three-minute comedy titled "It's a Mall World," directed by Milo Ventimiglia of "Heroes" and "Rocky Balboa" fame. The mini-show will premiere on MTV during "Real World" Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. beginning Aug. 1. It also will be seen in American Eagle stores around the country and later on the company's Web site, ae.com. "It's a Mall World" explores the lives and relationships of mall employees, including an "object of perfection" greeter at the American Eagle store, a slightly psychotic girl who works in a lingerie shop and a bad-boy poseur from the requisite mall juice bar. The ensemble cast is made up of Sam Huntington ("Superman Returns," "Veronica Mars"), Dianna Agron ("Shark," "CSI: NY"), Amanda Loncar ("The Loop," "Law & Order"), Deon Richmond ("Hatchet," "Not Another Teen Movie") and Eddie Hargitay ("Neutral Ground," "FreakyLinks").

Gone to the Dogs

May 7, 2007 12:00 AM

Thursday's "Good Morning America" featured a meeting of the world's largest and smallest dogs. Here 170-pound Gibson the Great Dane and 18-ounce Dancer the Chihuahua fraternize backstage at the "GMA" studio in New York's Times Square.

Heavy Metal Times Two

May 7, 2007 12:00 AM

It's a double whammy of fug for the season finale of ABC's "Ugly Betty." Amid all the tart exchanges, devious plotting, self-destructive behavior and uncovered secrets will be a special appearance by Angelica Vale, who stars as Lety in the hit Mexican telenovela "La Fea mas bella"—a wink to the progenitor of the hit Thursday night series. Ms. Vale will guest star as Angelica, the assistant to Betty's orthodontic technician, Diane (Kristin Chenoweth). Better brace yourselves.

'Mall' Rats

May 7, 2007 12:00 AM

American Eagle Outfitters is trying on TV. The clothing retailer is in production on its first original series, a three-minute comedy titled "It's a Mall World," directed by Milo Ventimiglia of "Heroes" and "Rocky Balboa" fame. The mini-show will premiere on MTV during "Real World" Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. beginning Aug. 1. It also will be seen in American Eagle stores around the country and later on the company's Web site, ae.com. "It's a Mall World" explores the lives and relationships of mall employees, including an "object of perfection" greeter at the American Eagle store, a slightly psychotic girl who works in a lingerie shop and a bad-boy poseur from the requisite mall juice bar. The ensemble cast is made up of Sam Huntington ("Superman Returns," "Veronica Mars"), Dianna Agron ("Shark," "CSI: NY"), Amanda Loncar ("The Loop," "Law & Order"), Deon Richmond ("Hatchet," "Not Another Teen Movie") and Eddie Hargitay ("Neutral Ground," "FreakyLinks"). -- Chris Pursell

Heavy Metal Times Two

May 7, 2007 12:00 AM

It's a double whammy of fug for the season finale of ABC's "Ugly Betty." Amid all the tart exchanges, devious plotting, self-destructive behavior and uncovered secrets will be a special appearance by Angelica Vale, who stars as Lety in the hit Mexican telenovela "La Fea mas bella"—a wink to the progenitor of the hit Thursday night series.

Ms. Vale will guest star as Angelica, the assistant to Betty's orthodontic technician, Diane (Kristin Chenoweth). Better brace yourselves. -- Tom Gilbert

Lafayette on La Fayette

May 7, 2007 12:00 AM

Blink can never get enough Lafayette. TV5Monde, the French-language cable channel, was named media sponsor of a yearlong celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Marquis de La Fayette in Lafayette, La., where TV5Monde appears on Cox Cable's channel 270.

Lafayette, in Bayou country, will be holding special events featuring food, music, art, history and culture to honor its namesake, the French nobleman who assisted George Washington during the American Revolution.

Around the Marquis' birthday in September, the channel will air several original films and documentaries about him. It also is producing an original CD-ROM about the influence La Fayette had on the U.S. that will be available free in both English and French versions to public schools in Louisiana and across America.

"We are grateful that our programming partner TV5Monde has agreed to reach out and assist the Lafayette region in paying tribute to a gentleman who played a major role in the history of our country," said Jacqui Vines, regional VP and general manager of Cox Greater Louisiana. -- —JON, er, LAFAYETTE